For parents, time spent with children is precious. During or after a divorce, you must split this time in a unique way.
Along with coping with your emotional and mental needs, it is critical to account for the needs of your children during this time. Aside from having a proper parenting plan in place, there are a few things to consider that can help parents assist their children with coping with divorce during the holidays.
Plan ahead and appropriately
If you desire to stray from the set visitation agreement during the holidays, try to work it out with the other parent months in advance. When possible, it is advisable to put the special event and holiday schedule in the agreement from the beginning, or add it once both sides agree. To reach that point, it may be beneficial to undergo mediation together to find common ground for any modifications.
Focus on the children
Try to see things from the perspective of your children. They love and want to be with both parents throughout the holiday; however, due to circumstances beyond their control, that may not be possible. How can you make this easier on them? What compromises or sacrifices would be in the best interest of your kids?
Baylor College of Medicine expert Dr. James Bray makes several suggestions for coping during the holidays, including having a contingency plan in case plans do not go as expected. Flexibility is key in developing new patterns, especially in the context of growing children and shifting relationships. If you are the parent with primary custody during holidays, you may consider allowing the other parent additional visitation time, or possibly inviting him or her over for a holiday dinner or for a few hours, depending on the dynamic.
These are a few tips to consider to aid your children during holidays after divorce. Take some time to determine the best course of action for your family, while keeping the needs of your children in the forefront. By doing this, you can help to foster a positive, healthy new normal for your precious ones.